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.308 limits

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Readyrod, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. Readyrod

    Readyrod Well-Known Member

    I've been reading posts about the .223 Remington and I get the idea that it starts to reach its limit at about deer size. (though I realize that many factors are involved) What would be the limit for the .308? At what size game does this round start to reach its limits assuming relatively normal conditions. I was also wondering what you guys think would be a good common round for even larger game than the .308 can handle. (Would I need to go to Africa for game that size?)
  2. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    Personally I would feel OK hunting any North American game with a proper loading of .308.

    Not sure I'd go after dangerous animals with it unless it was in a FAL or something :) , but I would feel OK using it for everything else.
  3. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Well-Known Member

    A .308 in the proper location should take any north American game animal.
  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    I think the .223 is all the way up to its limit at deer.

    The .308 is equal to the ORIGINAL* .30-06 which has been used on ALL game. I don't think I would hunt brown bear with either, but it is fine for everything else in North America. A friend hunted African plains game with a .338 on one trip, .300 Win Mag the other with no complaints either time.

    *Yes, I know the .30-06 has been souped up, starting about 1925, and has more case volume and more "potential" in the gunzine writer's favorite "strong action" but that is not what I was talking about.
  5. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    The modern .30-06 is not your grandfather's .30-06. With modern powders and bullets, it really will do everything the .300 Win Mag used to do.
  6. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    the 308 at to a somewhat better extent 30-06 would be fine for any and all NA game and african plains game species that don't bite back. Including NA Cougar and Black bear 308 would be a fine choice for those smaller predators

    Add teeth and claws and I'll opt for a bigger hole and much more muzzle energy thank you
  7. saturno_v

    saturno_v Well-Known Member

    Bullet placement and bullet construction is the best medicine against species that bite back..no caliber or muzzle energy (up to a point of course)

    The good old 303 British sent countless lions to the feline heaven as many other similar calibers that nowdays are considered marginal for smaller species.

    In a lion charge a well placed 170 gr. flat point 30-30 slug it will stop the critter where a 460 Weatherby Magnum in the guts is going to get you mauled or killed.

    For the OP, assuming appropriate bullets for the situation, if you shoot your rifle very well within the range limitation of the caliber, the 308 is good for anything in North America.
  8. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    That's fine for the supermen amongst us. But for most mere mortals as the likelihood of getting eaten increases marksmanship skill tends to decrease exponentially as an inverse. Couple that with the fact that animals hell bent on your destruction tend to move quickly and I'll see your 30-30 and raise you a 375H&H

    Needless to say I doubt the blokes around the hunt club in the late 19th early 20th tended to wow their peers with thrilling tales of it's spectacular failures. I wonder why many of our current DG cartridges are of British origin?

    Ever hear the quote that history is written by the victors. When a deer runs 150yds after a heart lung hit it's simply a minor inconvenience. When the same thing happens with a lion you become kitty chow
  9. bpl

    bpl Well-Known Member

    I'll take all North American game species except Grizzly/Brown/Kodiak bears and Polar Bears for two Alex! Distance limit of300 yards or less.
  10. Titan6

    Titan6 member

    There isn't much difference between .308 and .30-06. .30-06 is generally considered good enough for anything in NA and so is the .308. Can you do better? Well of course you can. But if you are on budget than you are better off with one of the aforementioned choices.
  11. blitzen

    blitzen Well-Known Member

    By picking your shot and being a responsible hunter the .308 is an adequate cartridge for anything on the North American continent. Although it will kill them, I wouldn't go hunting brown bear with one. That's were I make the jump to somthing more substantial like the .375. For where I'm at I use it for everything.
  12. saturno_v

    saturno_v Well-Known Member


    The golden era of African Safari was when there were used rifles with muzzle energy now considered anemic...303 British, 7 mm Mauser and countless others..

    Yes there were the NE cartridges and similar...but they were considered Elephant or other thick skinned cartridges.

    In a very old gun book that I have ,the 375 H&H was considerd an elephant gun.

    When the super uber Magnum (Weatherby and the likes) arrived, the Safari era was largely over.

    Yes more people died at that time hunting lions....well more people hunted lions at that time to begin with, not all of them with an army of backup guides. Bullet technology was in its infancy...

    Lord de Grey lost his life when he fired is 280 Ross against a charging lion..it was a perfect shot but the primitive soft point bullet of the time could not withstand the 3000 fps of velocity and disintegrated on its way to the vitals.

    Yes nowdays you have less chances of dying in the typical canned Lion hunt when you have 2-3 guys or even more backing you up with portable howitzers.

    Now please explain why in an hypotetical, let's say 40-50 yards charge a well placed 30-30 flat nose bullet to the vitals is less deadlier than a 375 bullet delivered in the exact same spot...I would like to know...in that situation you need a CNS hit to stop the charge...doesn't matter 30-30 or 375..if you get there, lights out.

    Bear in mind..I'm not advocating a 30-30 for lion hunting at all...rainbow trajectory, energy at distance etc..we all now that...I'm talking about close and personal...at 40 yards a properly constructed 30-30 bullet (for example the Federal partition) will go through muscle and heavy bones with aplomb....too bad I did not take pictures with my cellphone of the level of penetration a friend of mine got at 50 yards from his Grizzly Cartridge 170 gr. 30-30 on a stack of heavy bovine bones backstopped by layers of carpet, a wood sheet and a live oak. Hard cast were even more impressive

    My first rifle in the US was (and still is) a Mauser 98 Sporter rechambered in 30-06 I bought from a very old South African Cardiologist retired in the US...and it got few lions under his belt, he never felt undegunned.

    He told me.."Lions are formidable creatures...extremely strong willed, can be vicious and incredibly dangerous...but he said at best the male lion is a 500-550 pounds thin skinned creature...you have to win your fear first and don't lose yoru concentration...a bigger gun won't help if yu don;t know what to do"

    I was fascinated by his stories and his pictures.

    Elmer Keith considered the 270 Winchester a "Coyote gun", Jack O'Connors instead praised the caliber and used it extensively all around Africa..both experienced men, different opinions

    From Chuck Hawks website your can read this article


    An excerpt:

  13. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    I take it you haven't shot many critters. Animals can do a great deal of living after even the most perfect hits. The difference between a 30-30 and a 375 is the latter has much more pontental power, penatration bullet mass and energy to break down large bone and muscle structures on a very fast and deadly animal. All things being equal with reguards to shot placment the more powerful round shooting the bigger and heavier bullet will always do more damage. PERIOD

    I reject this notion utterly, it would be like saying a .22 is as good as .357mag for SD because you have to get a CNS hit anyway. With a CNS hit just about all cartridges are equal from .22 to .458 but to say that killing potental in a hunting situation is the same because of this is not a legitimate arguement. I've seen a lot of silly caliber comparisons but 30-30 being as good as 375H&H takes the cake...and all coming from a guy who doesn't think a 7.62x39 can compare to a 30-30 :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2009
  14. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Well-Known Member

    I don't do this ofter, but +1 bpl.

    Slug constuction must be chosen carefully however.
  15. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    yes that cannot be stressed enough. From whitetail deer with a .223 to elephant with a .458 Lott. proper bullet construction for the game being hunted is of the utmost importance.
  16. jpwilly

    jpwilly Well-Known Member

    So in summary OP the 308 Win is enough (with the right bullet) for all hunts in North America with proper shot placement. If hunting Big Brown Bears I'd prefer something bigger. 45/70 or 12Ga Slugs come to mind.

    Don't miss or you'll wish you were a Rodeo Clown!
  17. saturno_v

    saturno_v Well-Known Member

    I haven't shot any critters but I did talk extensively with people that did, including the former owner of my Mauser and read a lot about the topic.

    Did I said that a 375 H&H is as good as a 30-30?? Did I say that??

    Read what I write, first, and then you comment on it.

    A 22 would probably not break bone, and will be easily stopped deflected...same thing can happen with a high velocity very light 223 or 243 for that matter..too much velocity, bullet too light may come apart, be deflected, etc...
    Nice try bringing the 22 in the picture....something like let's say 1/16th of the muzzle energy and less than 1/4 of bullet weight compared to a 30 WCF.....if math is not an opinion , the 30-30 is much more close to a 375 than a 30-30 to a 22.

    Did I advocate a 30-30 for hunting lions??? (very different than short distance defense charge) Absolutely No

    Would a 30-30 penetrate an Elephant skull?? Probably not.

    Would a 30-30 flat nose lose too much energy at 100-150 yards and fail to penetrate where a 375 would still go lenght wise through a Lion?? Probably yes.

    We are talking about a short distance charge...a 40-50 yards if I were a lion, I would not like to take a proper 30-30 170 gr slug in the vitals.

    I saw a video of a ~100 yards headshot on a very big Elk with Federal partition 30-30 and the bull dropped like being hit by a lightning

    Why don't you comment on people that been there and done that that said that the 375 is overkill for lions?? I posted the article....read it and comment on it.

    Try this at home....go to a butcher and buy a nice big cow head and some knee bones, put them in front of a few layers of heavy carpet a hardwood plank against a live oak, then buy a box of Grizzly Cartridges 170gr, 30-30 or, better, some hardcast then shoot it at 50 yards with your leveraction, if you have one, and see what happen.....you may be surprised....

    Than, finally, look at this bunch of idiots shooting all over the place trying to kill a lion and one of them almost getting mauled...their cannons did not help them that much....they are the one that deserve to be hunted...respect for the animal.

    Last edited: Jan 23, 2009
  18. Ridgerunner665

    Ridgerunner665 Well-Known Member

    The 308 will do better than most magnums for anything in North America...

    Mainly due to the fact that the shooter won't flinch...accuracy kills.

    Bullets like Barnes TSX make the 308 a pretty formidable weapon...even though lots of "magnumitis" sufferers don't want to admit it.

    I'd much rather hit a big bear in the "boiler room" with my 308 than gut shoot him with a 458 Win.
  19. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    I think the point some of us are making is that a good hit with a .30-06 is better than a bad hit with a .375. And a lot of people shoot the .30-06 better than they shoot the .375.

    And with modern loadings and bullets, the .30-06 is a much better cartridge than it used to be.
  20. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    pretty much

    I wouldn't feel good about 30-30's ability to stop a charging 150lb deer in that situation much less an 800lb apex predator. The lion may not like it but what would that matter to you after it rips your face off. Whilst not an ideal situation you chances of retaining your face are much much better with that same hit from a 375 or larger

    the only thing in your post that bears on this discussion. Go shoot some LIVE animals with a 30-30 and tell me that it would do just fine on a short range charge from a *%#( LION

    Stories you read in books and get told over the gun counter are just that. STORIES. If anything hunting tales are even more prone to embellishment than fishing stories and must be taken with a grain of salt

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